The Instigator
GenesisProject
Con (against)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
Wylted
Pro (for)
Winning
7 Points

Is Atheism a Religion?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
Wylted
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/17/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 886 times Debate No: 49284
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (15)
Votes (4)

 

GenesisProject

Con

There are some who claim Atheism is a religion. I will attempt to use facts and logic to prove that it Atheism is not a religion.

1st Round-Acceptance

2nd and 3rd Rounds-Debate
Wylted

Pro

Atheism is a religion.
Debate Round No. 1
GenesisProject

Con

Atheism is not a belief. It's a non-belief. It's the lack of a belief in a god. That's it.

Atheism has no holy book, not tenants, no central authority, no deity to worship, no church or other buildings to gather in and no world view.

Atheism is about the single issue of a god existing. It's just the absence of a belief in a god.

Religion is "the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods."
https://www.google.com...

Atheism is the exact opposite of that.
Wylted

Pro

Introduction

Religion is "the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods."

This whole debate is about defining what the word religion means and seeing if it's applicable to atheism. So the first definition that pops up on google will not suffice. This is the reason, I didn't offer a definition upon accepting.

Here is a definition for you that might come in handy.

Atheism

"noun
1. the doctrine or belief that there is no God."

http://m.dictionary.com...

Legal definition

A federal appeals court in Wisconsin has declared Atheism to be a religion, after a group of prisoners complained about their first amendment rights being suppressed.

http://mobile.wnd.com...

http://www.atheist-community.org...

Religions without God

Religion doesn't require a God here is a list of a few that don't have a God; Jainism, Taoism, Confucianism etc., and there are plenty more.

What is religion

If religion doesn't need a god to be a religion, then what is a religion? Somebody named Ninian Smart came up with a system anthropologists use to determine if something is a religion.

1.Smart, N., 1996. Dimensions of the sacred: an anatomy of the worlds beliefs. HarperCollins, London.
2.http://danbhai.com...

"The seven dimensions proposed by Smart are narrative, experiential, social, ethical, doctrinal, ritual and material. Not every religion has every dimension, nor are they all equally important within an individual religion. Smart even argues that the secularisation of western society is actually a shift of focus from the doctrinal and ritual to the experiential."

http://creation.mobi...

Narrative

Most religions explain people's place in the universe and how we got here. Evolution fits neatly into Smart's narrative category. So does the Big Bang.

Experiential

There are 2 aspects of this. The first happens before a religion is founded. The first part is covered by the heroic story of Darwin's travel across the world and exploring the Gal""'�pagos Islands to form hi evolution theory.

The 2nd part is covered in the present.

A lot of people when they become atheists feel a lot of things that Christians feel when becoming Christian. They feel a burden has been lifted off their shoulders or they describe feeling free. Some atheists even pray.

http://www.patheos.com...

http://atheistprayer.blogspot.com...

Social

"The social dimension of religion looks at the hierarchies and power structures present within the religion, such the Hindu caste system. In missionary religions, it also includes how people get converted and how missionaries go about their work." (Directly quoted from website below)

http://creation.mobi...

"If this book works as I intend, religious readers who open it will be atheists when they put it down.
Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins is trying to convert people to his religion Atheism.

"It [religion] is the opiate of the masses. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

Karl Marx

Communism is a sect of atheism. Communists even go as far as to try to make atheism, the state religion.

Scientists are high up on the social hierarchy of the atheist religion. They are very esteemed because they bring understanding of the world. It also seems that the more a scientist mentions evolution, the higher esteemed they are.

Atheists have (just like Christians) even promoted lying to get people to convert to atheism.

http://creation.mobi...

Doctrinal

Doctrines are beliefs not directly derived from the narrative but are kind of like the next logical extension of the narrative. The Christians have the holy trinity.

For atheists, they have a code of morals, known as Secular Humanism

Ethical

Atheism is a moral relavist religion. There is no ethical doctrine, but the most popular one is probably utilitarianism.

Ritual

While appearing to be absent from atheism isn't. Of course Atheism is relatively new so rituals haven't had much Tim to develop, but they are still there.

" It's noteworthy that in recent years, the atheists public commemoration of the anniversary of Darwin"s birth each February (and even of the publication of his Origin of Species in November), along with calls for the general public to do the same, is rapidly becoming something of an annual ritual"

http://creation.mobi...

Material

Atheists views on the material circle around nature a lot. There is 2 views nature is there to be exploited or it's a sacred thing that needs to be practically worshipped.

Conclusion

As you can see both the court system and anthropologists consider Atheism a religion.

Note: A large portion of the 3nd part of my argument was derived from the following website.

http://creation.mobi...
Debate Round No. 2
GenesisProject

Con

Atheism has more than 1 definition.
http://dictionary.reference.com...
1. the doctrine or belief that there is no God.
2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.

The second definition is the more accurate one, since Atheism is a disbelief, not a belief.

Legal definition of a religion includes
US churches received an official federal income tax exemption in 1894, and they have been unofficially tax-exempt since the country's founding. All 50 US states and the District of Columbia exempt churches from paying property tax. Donations to churches are tax-deductible. The debate continues over whether or not these tax benefits should be retained.

The First Church of Atheism is NOT tax exempt on the grounds that Atheism is legally not a religion.
http://firstchurchofatheism.org...

Religions without god.
Not all religions have a god, but not all godless beliefs are religions.

"Most religions explain people's place in the universe and how we got here. Evolution fits neatly into Smart's narrative category. So does the Big Bang"
You do NOT need to agree with the theory of evolution or the Bing Bang in order to be an atheist. You don't even have to know what they are. All you need to be an atheist is to lack a belief in any god. Atheism is NOT a world view.

"Richard Dawkins is trying to convert people to his religion Atheism."
Actually no. Atheism is the DEFAULT position. Nobody converts to atheism. If you lose your believe in a god, you nearly fall back to the default position.
http://youtu.be...

"Communism is a sect of atheism. Communists even go as far as to try to make atheism, the state religion."
That's a claim without evidence. The reason why religion is abolished in Communist countries is so the dictator of that country is the only one to be worshiped. The State religion of a Communist country is Communism itself, not atheism.

"Scientists are high up on the social hierarchy of the atheist religion. They are very esteemed because they bring understanding of the world. It also seems that the more a scientist mentions evolution, the higher esteemed they are."
Once again...evolution had NOTHING to do with atheism.

"For atheists, they have a code of morals, known as Secular Humanism"
Wrong. Not all atheists are secular humanists. Most atheists get their morals from their own ability to empathize.

"Atheism is a moral relavist religion. There is no ethical doctrine, but the most popular one is probably utilitarianism."
PROBABLY? That's not a fact.

"While appearing to be absent from atheism isn't. Of course Atheism is relatively new so rituals haven't had much Tim (sic) to develop, but they are still there."
Name an atheist ritual.

The commemoration of the anniversary of Darwin's birth each February are for fans of Darwin, not atheists in general.
The general public aren't all atheists.

"Atheists views on the material circle around nature a lot. There is 2 views nature is there to be exploited or it's a sacred thing that needs to be practically worshipped. (sic)"

"A lot" is not all the time! An atheist can have any world view they chose. The only thing ALL atheists have in common is the lack of a belief in a god.

Conclusion:
Atheism is NOT a religion because it does not have holy books, tenants, a central authority, a deity to worship, buildings to gather in and no world view.

My opponent has used a creationist website to gather false information about atheism. Creationists are bias and are not a good source of what atheism really is.
My opponent also picked a single definition of atheism from a dictionary and failed to include the second definition for his own purposes, which is not an honest thing to do.
My opponent tries to find common things that he believes all atheist have. NONE of them are what ALL atheists have in common. The only thing atheists all have in common is the lack of a belief in a god, which is not a religion by itself.
If atheism is really legally a religion, then every atheist would be tax exempt, since they can simply be ordained as Atheist Ministers from the First Church of Atheism.

Let me clarify that the First Church of Atheism is not a "church" as in a standing building for atheists to go and worship. It's a necessary entity in order to allow atheists to perform weddings without a god.

One more observation: My opponent made several spelling mistakes which are marked with "(sic)" where they are quoted.

I want to thank my opponent for the debate.
Wylted

Pro

Introduction

I've provided sufficient evidence for Atheism being a religion. I've showed how anthropologists determine if something is a religion. I've also shown that the United States federal government considers atheism a religion. I'll refute some stuff my opponent has brought up.

Definition

"Atheism has more than 1 definition.
http://dictionary.reference.com......
1. the doctrine or belief that there is no God.
2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.

The second definition is the more accurate one, since Atheism is a disbelief, not a belief."


This definition is almost irrelevant now. Whether an atheist believes god doesn't exist or he lacks belief in a god it still doesn't do anything to counter my arguments, that it is a religion.

I would also like to point out that Con saying the second definition is more accurate isn't adequate evidence that it's more accurate.

Legal definition

Atheism is defined by the federal government as a religion. My other reference in the last round proves this.

"US churches received an official federal income tax exemption in 1894, and they have been unofficially tax-exempt since the country's founding. All 50 US states and the District of Columbia exempt churches from paying property tax. Donations to churches are tax-deductible. The debate continues over whether or not these tax benefits should be retained.

The First Church of Atheism is NOT tax exempt on the grounds that Atheism is legally not a religion."


The first church of Atheism is:

A. A church.
B. It has ministers. http://firstchurchofatheism.com...
C. Is tax exempt. If they choose to be. http://www.theblaze.com...

A lot of atheist organizations sue when they are given tax exempt status. Other atheist organizations refuse tax exempt status as a matter of principal. So yes, Atheist organizations can be tax exempt, despite what my opponent says. They just typically choose not to be. I've also seen. No evidence that the first church of atheism has ever payed any taxes.

The 7 Dimensions

In the previous round, I show how atheism is fits into the 7 dimensions of what a religion is. I won't address each point my opponent makes in this section because it is all, the same argument applied to different things.

My opponents arguments against the 7 dimensions summed up.

" Not all atheists share that belief"

They don't have to. Not all Christians believe in the holy trinity. Not all Christians believe in the rapture. Not all Christians believe in or participate in baptisms. By repeating this argument ad nauseum, my opponent fails to attack the meat of my argument. If my opponent wanted to attack the use of the 7 dimensions by anthropologists, that's one thing. Instead of taking that route, he instead resorts to " but, not all atheists believe that".

My opponent concludes his weak attack on the 7 dimensions with this statement:

"An atheist can have any world view they chose (opponent misspells choose). The only thing ALL atheists have in common is the lack of a belief in a god."

A Christian can have any world view they choose. The only thing all Christians have in common is the belief in the death and ressurection of Jesus Christ.

Additional Responses

"My opponent has used a creationist website to gather false information about atheism. Creationists are bias and are not a good source of what atheism really is."

My argument was inspired by the creationist site. My opponent is using the logical fallacy called genetic fallacy. He states that the evidence is biased because a creationist site has showed it to us.

http://www.fallacyfiles.org...

My opponent does nothing to challenge the evidence. My opponent also overlooked my link to an unbiased source showing Smart's 7 dimensions, used by anthropologists. Here it is again.

http://danbhai.com...

"My opponent also picked a single definition of atheism from a dictionary and failed to include the second definition for his own purposes, which is not an honest thing to do."

My opponent tried to impose an abusive definition of the word religion, when the whole debate is supposed to be about examining what the word religion truly means, so that we can determine if atheism should be included in it. I didn't try to impose my definition of atheism. The definition was just there to show that dictionaries don't always tell the whole story.

"If atheism is really legally a religion, then every atheist would be tax exempt, since they can simply be ordained as Atheist Ministers from the First Church of Atheism."

Ministers aren't tax exempt. Governments typically consider atheist ministers as equal to ministers of other religions. You get access to clergy parking, can perform weddings and get the same visitation rights with prisoners. You also get the same clergy rights at hospitals.

http://firstchurchofatheism.com...

"One more observation: My opponent made several spelling mistakes which are marked with "(sic)" where they are quoted."

You marked 2 spelling mistakes. The first mistake I used the word Tim instead of the word time and the second word is 'worshipped'.

I didn't actually misspell the word worshipped, though.

http://www.spellweb.com...

My opponent on the other hand technically made grammar mistakes every time he used all caps on a word.

Conclusion

I showed how anthropologists define a religion and how it applies to atheism. I also showed how the law determines if something is considered a religion. My opponent completely fails in refuting my legal arguments, and when attacking my 7 dimensions argument he gives a weak refutation, that can be boiled down to "but, not all atheists".

Thank you
Debate Round No. 3
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by TheLastMan 2 years ago
TheLastMan
RFD part 2: Note that Con also did not made the Bop clear. It was not clear whether the BoP was shared or not. Pro successfully showed that there are enough followers to consider atheism as a religion. Pro has showed how anthropologists determine if something is a religion. Pro has also shown that the United States federal government considers atheism a religion. Pro showed how atheism fits into the 7 dimensions of what a religion is. Simply saying "but, not all atheists agree to this" is not enough convincing to me. Con's opening case lacked substance. Pro's opening was more organized and better than Con's opening argument. Overall, I'm leaning more toward Pro.
Posted by TheLastMan 2 years ago
TheLastMan
RFD Part-1 I personally agree with Con. But, I'm going to judge this debate by looking at the skills of the debaters. First, the resolution is in the interrogative form. The resolution set up by the instigator is already vague to begin with, but Con also did not completely clear it up in the first round. He did not set up definitions of atheism and religion. This kind of debate are usually semantic debate. The debate revolves around the word "religion". If Con had define religion in the first round, he would have easily won the debate. Not setting up the definitions of the debate in the first round is a sign of poor debating skill. Now, Con is saying that saying atheism is a religion, is objectively not correct. But, the point is that it's not objectively incorrect either. Why? Because there is no objective definition for religion. The definition varies men to men. Since there is no set definition for religion, it's sufficient for Pro to show that atheism can be a religion from subjective point of view. It doesn't matter if it's the lack of believe, as long as you think it's your religion. It isn't up to others to decide your religion. Religions don't have to have a deity or a book. There are pegans who thinks loki is their God. And some pegans think loki is not a God, but Thor is their God. They don't have to share the same views. If some atheists think atheism is a religion and some atheists don't, then it's fine. Then, the atheism will be considered as a religion only for those who belive it as a religion. There is also thing called eclecticism. It means mixing more than one religion into a new one. There are christo-pegans, christ-muslims etc.
Posted by TheLastMan 2 years ago
TheLastMan
A semantic debate, indeed. It was supposed to be a semantic debate. I think Con is trying to say that one cannot objectively call atheism a religion. I am an expert on this topic. I have done a lot of research on this topic before. This kind of debate usually revolves around the word "religion" . I'll read it.
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
Wylted
Yes they have. Atheist organizations get offered tax exempt status all the time. Read my sources.
Posted by nonprophet 2 years ago
nonprophet
"Con's opening arguments were weak and insufficient and for that reason, I'm awarding "Conduct" to Pro. I'd like to advice Con to make strong opening arguments, This will impress judges."

A weak argument has nothing to do with conduct.
Another BS vote!
Posted by nonprophet 2 years ago
nonprophet
"Pro establishes that the law views it as a religion, something Con doesn't address."
I already pointed out that they are not tax exempt and have NOT been offered tax exempt status.
BS Vote
Posted by nonprophet 2 years ago
nonprophet
Why was the vote withdrawn?
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
Wylted
I addressed every point you brought up in my arguments nonprophet.
Posted by nonprophet 2 years ago
nonprophet
Christians all have to have the same world view...the one of the Bible.
Atheists don't have a book that dictates their world view.
If atheism is a non-belief, how do you get a religion from a non-belief?
Posted by GenesisProject 2 years ago
GenesisProject
You can define lemons as sour and you can define lemons as sweet. Only one definition is right.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by TheLastMan 2 years ago
TheLastMan
GenesisProjectWyltedTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Given in comment
Vote Placed by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 2 years ago
iamanatheistandthisiswhy
GenesisProjectWyltedTied
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Reasons for voting decision: "For atheists, they have a code of morals, known as Secular Humanism. "This is a fabrication that was not supported as such points for arguments have to go to Con. Further, I do not think the arguments by Con were well supported but they were at least logically consistent. Conduct is shared, as both debaters came across rudely (or petty) in their last round i.e. pointing out spelling mistakes. Sources are shared, as Pros sources are not accredited.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
GenesisProjectWyltedTied
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Reasons for voting decision: So, let's go through this debate in pieces, starting with definitions. With regards to the definition of atheism, neither debater is winning it, so that's a wash. Pro establishes that the law views it as a religion, something Con doesn't address. So long as that is the case, all the points about what atheists actually believe and whether they all agree to a given view are moot. All I've got left to evaluate is whether or not they truly are legally a religion. Con's best point on this is taken out in the final round - so long as they've been offered tax exempt status, they are a religion, whether they accept it or not. Therefore, I vote for Pro.
Vote Placed by Krazzy_Player 2 years ago
Krazzy_Player
GenesisProjectWyltedTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con's opening arguments were weak and insufficient and for that reason, I'm awarding "Conduct" to Pro. I'd like to advice Con to make strong opening arguments, This will impress judges.